Most people are in the habit of booking their own travel online. It works for airfare and hotel stays, and internet savvy folks even book whole vacations that way. If you have done it, you know it can be time consuming conducting searches and reading reviews, and frustrating to think you have the best price only to find one even better, or to see the price go up when you’re ready to book. Hopefully your vacations have not been full of deep regret, hotels with sour towels and poor service, or excursions with unqualified staff and unsafe conditions. Typically, most businesses are reputable, conditions are pleasant, and the vacations go as planned, right? Most of the time?
So what does a travel advisor do, and what’s the benefit to you?
A travel advisor is a travel designer, not just a maker of flight and hotel reservations. Your advisor may have a specialty, e.g., a destination (safaris, Disney, Great Britain); vacation type (honeymoons, treks, food/wine; luxury); clientele served (families, businesses, groups); or not – but most advisors do. But why should you use one?
1. You don’t have advisors’ connections. Advisors have hundreds of sources to draw on when planning your tailor-made vacation experience, the VAST majority of which are not known by, nor accessible to the public. BIG WIN FOR YOU! We build relationships with host entities, supplier groups, and travel consortia all over the world, depending on specialty. We have access to upgrades, perks and credits; we can get you VIP’d at a 5-star hotel because we know the general manager personally. We know which cruise line among dozens is the right cruise line for you. Do you crave a touch of luxury and/or VIP status? This means something different for everyone; but if going on vacation doesn’t feel any different from being at home you likely wouldn’t go to the trouble, right? Your advisor is the travel expert – you are not. Yes, you may be a seasoned traveler, but that’s not the same thing.
2. You don’t have the time. We manage your most valuable non-renewable asset.
3. Complicated itineraries. Many people grow weary and wary of booking their own vacation, and if their plans contain any level of complication (a variety of schedules, unfamiliar destinations, customized experiences, long-held hopes and dreams) then the personalized attention from an advisor that gives the traveler peace of mind before, during, and after the trip is worth it.
4. Accessibility and accountability. You want to make sure you have help in an emergency – ‘nuff said.
Your vacation is usually quite a financial investment and should be trusted to a savvy professional that is your advocate and advisor - literally. For example, do you know there are areas in the city of Florence, Italy that tourists cannot drive? Yeah – if you need to know that, it’s not likely any traveling gnome or yelping owl will tell you. It’s like Warren Buffett said: “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”
'til next week...